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Insurance agent claims premiums for personal use leading to multiple felony charges

Madison Voss
May 3, 2013 4:17 PM

Petaluma - Russel Joseph Sage, 38, was arrested Monday April 29, 2013 and charged with four felony counts of Theft of Fiduciary Funds, two felony counts of Grand Theft, 22 counts of Money Laundering, as well as Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancements. Sage allegedly collected insurance premiums and diverted the funds into his personal bank accounts. 

In September 2012 the Investigation Division Criminal Operations - Point of Sale (C.O.P.S.) Unit received a referral from the Woodland Police Department regarding a report of embezzlement by a licensed insurance agent. The complaint, filed by a Woodland based manufacturing company, claimed that Sage collected insurance premiums for multiple policies, including group health, workers' compensation and product liability insurance, which were never remitted to the insurance carriers.

A joint investigation by the C.O.P.S Unit and the Woodland Police Department revealed that between July 2011 and 2012 a total of $193,563.11 in insurance premiums was deposited into Sage's personal bank accounts. The diverted funds were allegedly spent on vacations, gaming and gambling. As a result of Sages scheme, the victim company and employees were exposed to considerable liability when numerous policies were canceled.

The investigation revealed further duplicitous actions when Sage billed another client $30,000 in broker fees to which he was not entitled. According to investigators, a bay area non-profit organization paid premiums on a workers' compensation policy and was charged an additional commission, which unknown to the client had already been paid as part of the premium.

Sage was booked at Yolo County Jail with bail set at $227,271.  On May 1, 2013, Sage was arraigned and released from jail on supervised own recognizance pending his May 29, 2013 preliminary hearing.

Sage voluntarily surrendered his insurance license.



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